Monday, December 30, 2013

Bridget Jones Revisited and At Sea

Mad about The Boy by Helen Fielding: It was a delight to catch up with Bridget in (supposedly) her early fifties, a single mother with two small children to bring up, and I thoroughly enjoyed this book - as I knew I would. Fielding has a light touch with the prose, a good sense of comedy and also knows how to make a serious point with grace.

That said, the heroine doesn't strike me as any woman I know in her early fifties, as she is still as scatty and manic as she was in her twenties - so she's not moved on much. Still if you can put that particular reality to one side, you have a very enjoyable read, with a suitably romantic ending (Four Stars).

At Sea by Laurie Graham: This is simply a scintillatingly good book. The prose is fresh, ironic and delightful, and the main character Lady Enid is a delight. I loved the story of how she discovers who her husband Bernard really is and where he came from, and the other people Enid gets to know on the cruise are also very well depicted.

There are some great comic moments on the way, as well as some glorious discoveries, and the manner in which Enid orchestrates her secret revenge on the very tricksy Bernard is very satisfying indeed. I loved it. (5 Stars)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Books published in 2013 and Coming Up in 2014

A quick recap on the literary year and also what's ahead. In 2013, the following books have been published:

Rosie By Name: a comic romance (Anne Brooke Books)
Taking A Chance: gay BDSM romance (Wilde City Press)
Dido's Tale: FREE romantic short story (Anne Brooke Books)
A Dangerous Man: gay thriller (Amber Allure Press)
Thorn in The Flesh: bisexual thriller (Untreed Reads)
Maloney's Law (Maloney *1): gay thriller (Amber Allure Press)
The Beginning of Knowledge: gay literary erotica (Wilde City Press)
The Bones of Summer (Maloney *2): gay thriller (Amber Allure Press)
The Gifting (Gathandria *1): epic gay-themed fantasy (Anne Brooke Books)
Hallsfoot's Battle (Gathandria *2): epic gay-themed fantasy (Anne Brooke Books)
The Prayer Seeker: FREE Christian novella (Anne Brooke Books)
The Executioner's Cane (Gathandria *3): epic gay-themed fantasy (Anne Brooke Books)

Coming up in 2014 are:
The Girl in the Painting and Other Stories: short story collection (January 2014, Untreed Reads)
The Paranormal Detection Agency: gay paranormal romance (Spring 2014, Amber Allure Press)
Pink Champagne and Apple Juice: romantic comedy (6 April 2014, Amber Quill Press)

You can find out more at the Latest News page on my website.

A Selection of Wordles taken from my fantasy and comic fiction

From romantic comedy Rosie by Name:

From FREE gay-themed fantasy The Gifting (Gathandria *1):

From FREE gay-themed fantasy Hallsfoot's Battle (Gathandria *2):

From FREE gay-themed fantasy The Executioner's Cane (Gathandria *3):

Find out more at the Gathandrian site (all the books in the trilogy are FREE) and the Rosie By Name site.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Boys, birds and au revoir

Book News:

Gay erotic romance Taking a Chance is now available at All Romance Ebooks. This week, it gained a very nice review at Boys in Our Books Reviews:

"This is my first experience of this author and I really enjoyed this short story - it was very nicely done considering the length. Anne Brooke paints a clear picture of these men not only through Benjamin's point of view but through dialogue … I was fully engaged very early on and was left wanting more."

Not much else going on in Anne's Book World at the moment. I'm waiting for publishers to respond to a couple of submissions but I'm not holding out much hope in either case. The older I get, the more resigned I become to it all, hence the recent stepping back in terms of my writing commitment.

Still, I've started scribbling away every now and again at a straight fantasy/magic realism novel, so I'll see how that goes over the months to come. I think I'm simply rather fed up with the whole cycle, i.e. I throw myself 100% into making something the best it can be, several very lovely people read it and are hugely nice about it (for which enormous and enduring thanks!), other people of course are suitably scathing, but ... um ... very few people actually buy it, no matter how good or bad the reviews. It doesn't seem to be any different from that and, frankly, I find it ultimately very depressing. I've never made any money from this game and I imagine, now, I never will. Hey ho.

Life News:

Still, if the writing world is basically pretty rubbish, at least other things in life are nice. This week's cake is Chocolate and Orange Marble Cake, which has a distinctly Christmassy feel about it. And the garden is somehow full of roses still in bloom in December(!) and a flock of goldfinches also visited us this morning - all very cheery, thank goodness.

Mind you, I played some pretty grim golf on Friday - the amount of laughter was directly opposed to the skill of our game, for sure. However, I did get the car cleaned inside and out by the golf course car cleaners, and a marvellous job they did too.

This morning, a trip to Wisley resulted in a new orchid - with scent! - and an orange tree, so the house has a very exotic feel just now, hurrah. That's certainly set us up for the season.

Anyway, I'm going to give my blog a break for a while, as it's becoming a bit of a chore to be honest - so I hope you all have a very happy Christmas, and that the New Year will be kind to you.

Every good wish

Anne Brooke

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Illness and discounts

Life News:

I've been ill for about 3 weeks with a flu-type virus and it's not been terribly pleasant, so probably best not to revisit it. Suffice it to say I've recovered now and am eating again, hurrah. As a result of watching mindless TV all day, I'm also now addicted to property programmes and can't get enough of them, hey ho.

Yesterday, I went back to baking, and think I'm on to something of a winner with these Cherry and Brandy cupcakes. Definitely not for the children, and they taste amazing, so will be making those again for sure.

This morning, I've had a haircut so am now looking really quite stylish for the Christmas dinner at K's new workplace. The first turkey of the season, here I come ...

Book News:

A couple of nice reviews for gay erotic romance Taking A Chance have turned up this week. There's a 4-star review at MM Good Book Reviews:

"This is the first book I've read by Anne Brooke. It will not be the last! The author captures the essence of sensuality in so few pages. The way David dominated Benjamin with zero cruelty and played his body in ways Benjamin had never been played was just oh so sexy. I tore through this book on my lunch break. If you're looking for something quick and sexy that will leave a huge smile on your face, take a chance on this one!"

And another 4-star review at Pants Off Reviews, though they didn't like the ending much, ah well:

"David is very upfront and clear about his intentions for Benjamin, so much that he surprises me too. On the other hand, Benjamin is totally unprepared for David's questions about his sexual activity. However, Benjamin is straightforward and honest with his answers that it's refreshing to read the dialogue. It all makes this book a fun read."

Many thanks to both reviewers for their comments.

Finally, until 3 December, there's a 30% discount on all my Wilde City Press books (including Taking A Chance) - just add the code WILDETURKEY at the checkout. Happy reading!

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK
Free Fiction
Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Biblical Fiction UK

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Chance, Danger and cake

Book News:

Gay erotic romance Taking a Chance gained three reviews this week, which was a great thrill. Firstly, it received a Bad Ass Boots review at 3 Chicks After Dark Reviews:

"After finishing this book all I can say is wow, that ended up being so much more than I expected. I knew it was a short – only 11,500 words – but I’m amazed at just how much Anne Brooke gets across in those 11,500 words. She takes us from two strangers meeting, under false pretenses at that, to two guys making a real connection."

Secondly, it gained a 4-star review at Boy Meets Boy Reviews:

"Taking a Chance was a quick, fun, sexy, surprisingly thoughtful read about a young man who didn't know he had a submissive side he wanted to explore...until he met the man who brought it out in him. I really enjoyed taking that exploratory journey with Benjamin."

Thirdly and lastly it received a few nice comments from Sandra at BookLikes. Many thanks to all readers and reviewers. And don't forget there's a chance (ha! See what I did there, eh ...) of winning a FREE copy at the current BookLikes giveaway which ends on 1 December. Nineteen people have already entered the competition, and I hope I might be able to gain 25 interested people - with a bit of luck and the wind behind me.

Meanwhile, gay thriller A Dangerous Man gained a 5-star review at Amazon UK:

"The author has written an excellent book with a lot more to it than most other books. Not a book to forget in a hurry."

Not to be outdone, the Gathandrian gay-themed fantasy series has had a very brief moment of popularity at Amazon UK. The Gifting (Gathandria *1) was No 71 in the Sword and Sorcery charts, Hallsfoot's Battle (Gathandria *2) was No 87, and The Executioner's Cane (Gathandria *3) came in at No 68. And don't forget they're all FREE at Amazon and everywhere else too, so you can't go far wrong if you give them a go.

Life News:

I've been ill again most of this week with my usual catarrh/bad cold horrors. That's the third bout since September, so maybe it's my new hobby? Or possibly a sure-fire way to keep Mr Lemsip and Mr Lucozade in business. Never say I do nothing for the UK economy, eh ... Anyway, I managed to keep going at work, which was a good thing as there were a shed-load of key meetings I just had to do the minutes for, so that saved a lot of hassle. But once I'd left for the week on Thursday afternoon, it all went to hell in a hand basket, as they say. Hey ho. Suffice it to say there was no visit to the theatre to see A Midsummer Night's Dream on Thursday, no golf on Friday, and a hell of a lot of snorting, groaning and sleeping for the rest of the weekend.

I did manage to rally for long enough to bake Brazilian Stout Cake on Saturday morning though, which is proving very tasty - though certainly not the easiest cake in the world to make. If I feel strong enough ever, I might make it again at some point.

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK
Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Biblical Fiction UK
Free Fiction UK

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Danger, Chances and a Giveaway Competition!

Book News:

Gay erotic romance Taking a Chance is now published at Wilde City Press, and has also received its first, 4-star review from On Top Down Under Reviews:

"A good coupling with a sure, sophisticated, caring lover and passionate, willing partner. I also like that it was a forty something and a thirty something in the lead. Not that I suppose it matters, but it's just good for a change. There is a very slight twist at the end, I knew there would be, but not what I was thinking … so go, Anne Brooke. Terrific, sexy and quick reading with a couple of nice characters and a good ending."

Many thanks indeed, Karen.

Gay thriller A Dangerous Man also received an interesting review at MM Good Book Reviews this week:

"I found it brilliant in a way, powerful as hell too, but above all, I found it saddening and depressive. The protagonist, Michael, is such a disturbing character … What I loved most though was the description of the artist and his mentality … Michael was brilliantly written."

And, bringing these two books together in a very exciting giveaway competition is my On Top Down Under interview - so enter today only to win 1 of 2 FREE gay fiction ebooks. Pop along early to avoid disappointment, and I hope you enjoy the interview also. Happy reading and good luck!

Other book news is that gay-themed fantasy novel The Gifting was briefly at No 95 in the Amazon US gay fiction chart, and at No 82 in the Amazon UK gay fiction charts, so that was rather jolly. It's also been downloaded over 2000 times at Free Ebooks, so maybe it's not that bad, after all. Hey, a writer can dream, eh. And it's FREE, so what could be nicer?

Not to be outdone, the second in the trilogy, Hallsfoot's Battle, has just been downloaded over 1000 times at Free Ebooks, so that's reassuring too. And that's FREE as well, of course, so never say I'm not a generous soul at heart, ho ho.

In terms of current work, I'm now well into my second edit of gay fantasy The Taming of The Hawk so hope to get that finalised and submitted somewhere by the end of November, all things being equal.

Life News:

I had a wonderful and sooo relaxing reflexology session during the week, and have already booked another one for next month. There's definitely time in life for more relaxation.

Yesterday, I tried my hand at Coffee and Mint Cream cake - which is an interesting combination but I'm not sure it quite works. It's pleasant enough though, so we'll be sure to eat it up at some point. In the evening, K and I had a marvellous time listening to Guildford Choral Society's performance of Handel's Israel in Egypt. I can never get enough Handel really - the music is always pure perfection. A special mention has to go to the wonderful contralto who looked like a fragile pixie you could knock down with a feather, and yet had a glorious humdinger of a voice which filled the whole cathedral and some. Amazing stuff.

Today has been the Remembrance Service at church and round the War Memorial. It always gets me when the names of local soldiers lost in both wars are read out, and there are four or five gone from the same families. A terrible memory indeed.

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK
Free Fiction UK
The Gathandria Fantasy Trilogy
Biblical Fiction UK

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Chance, murder, and the importance of intersex folk

Book News:

My gay BDSM comedy, Taking a Chance, will be published by Wilde City Press on Wednesday 6 November, so I hope you enjoy the read. Here's the blurb:

The moment model and part-time actor Benjamin spots the sexually alluring Alan outside his local restaurant one night, he's determined to get to know him better. Much better. So he takes a chance and pretends to be Timothy, the blind date Alan is waiting for. 
When Alan asks him about submission, safe words and spanking, Benjamin knows the sensible thing to do is to make his apologies and leave. Funny then how his body keeps telling him something different, and instead he finds himself strangely eager to know more. Will it be a date to remember, and if Alan discovers his deceit, could he ever be persuaded to take any kind of a chance on Benjamin?

Turning to current work, gay thriller A Dangerous Man briefly found itself at the dizzy heights of No 87 in the Amazon UK Gay Fiction charts, so that was a pleasant surprise. And gay-themed fantasy novel, The Executioner's Cane, gained a very nice review at Amazon US:

"This series was nothing as I expected. I was drawn deeper with each chapter til I couldn't wait to pick up the book at every spare moment. It was beautifully written and I hope there will be more. Thank you Ms Brooke."

Why, thank you, Tx-N. Much appreciated.

Life News:

The storm last weekend left one front fence panel down and a large section of the farmer's tree across our back fence. K nobly went out first thing in the wind and the rain (what a hero!) and cut it into pieces small enough to take down. The back fence seems to have survived the experience, which is something of a miracle.

This week, I also got terribly confused during my Tesco online shop and instead of ordering two carrots, I seem to have ordered two tons (or almost!) of carrots. Cue a week of carrots with everything, carrot soup, and of course the carrot cake I actually bought the carrots for.

Anyone in the area who needs carrots is welcome to their selection of my carrot mountain, hey ho. Yesterday, there was Deep Trauma at the village shop when - horror of horrors! - the Daily Telegraph did not get delivered. My dears, the villagers were almost rioting. I had to send K into Godalming to get my copy as of course I cannot start my weekend without it.

Ooh, and there's fantastic news in Germany, which is the first European country to acknowledge the existence of intersex people. Quite right too! Being male or female is way too narrow a choice, and totally unrealistic - the whole thing is a sliding scale in my opinion, and those people who are born with features of both genders should definitely not be swept under the carpet by society. So good on Sarah Graham for her very sensible words here. I hope the UK can hurry up and catch up with the way things are too, and the sooner the better.

Meanwhile in the garden, the Durban canna is out in bloom, and the acer in the front garden is showing its autumn finery.

But the best news of the week is the totally amazing and very classy performance of Time, Murderer, Please by the ever-reliable Players of Elstead Theatre Society. A special mention of course for my lovely husband who took the role of the policeman George, and totally nailed it. A wonderful evening indeed!

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandria Fantasy Trilogy
Biblical Fiction UK
Free Fiction UK

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Storms and ghosts

Book News:

Much to my delight, gay thriller A Dangerous Man is no 9 in the Amber Allure bestseller chart for September - which is welcome news indeed after its Goodreads thrashing, hurrah. Perhaps - perish the thought - it's not actually as bad as its new readers think? You never know, tee hee ...

Meanwhile, gay-based fantasy The Gifting (Gathandria *1) found itself at No 91 in the Amazon UK gay fiction charts, whilst The Executioner's Cane (Gathandria *3) was at No 87 in the Amazon US gay fiction charts. The faint glimmer of glory was brief, alas, but welcome.

As a reminder, over at Untreed Reads, all my short stories can be purchased at the bargain price of 50c or 20p, so do feel free to browse. A story a day keeps boredom away, so they say.

One poem this week - the goldfinches are back! -


A late goldfinch
flutters at the bird feeder:

a splash of gold
on a cloudy day.

And I think next year
a brighter summer

might even now
pass our way.

And here's my mini review of Kate Mosse's Winter Ghosts:

I'd expected more from this, given Mosse's reputation - I've not read any of her work before so this was my introduction. It's a very well written ghost story, but the plot is the same as many other ghost stories, so I kept thinking I'd read it before somewhere. No surprises at all really. However, the times and settings are very good indeed, but it still feels like a slight novel to me.

Life News:

This week we've been putting the garden to bed for the winter, so I've pulled up the dead plants or those which won't come back next year, and given stuff (there's a technical gardening phrase for you) a light winter prune where needed. I've not planted the tulips yet, but I'll do those in November. I also refreshed the hanging baskets with winter greenery - though I've brought them all inside today, along with other vulnerable pots, because of the storm heading our way.

Other plants brought inside include my two surviving cannas - one of which bloomed for the first time today. So our Durban canna has one gorgeous orange flower on it, with more to come, and is spending its first day of existence in our dining room with its canna friend.

On Thursday, K and I saw the world premiere (go, us!) of political comedy The Duck House, starring Ben Miller, in Guildford. My verdict is:

OK, but far more farcical and therefore not as satirical or witty as we'd hoped. The second half is much better (and ruder!) than the first half, but they really need to dampen down the level of hysteria in the first half in order to build up the tension more effectively. Still, it's good to see that decent farce is at least still being written for the stage.

And Saturday's cake was a St Clement's (orange and lemon) sponge. Very tasty it is too, and so easy to make, hurrah.

Have a great Sunday, and if you're in the UK, I hope the coming storm isn't as bad as the 1987 one, hey ho.

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Free Fiction UK
Biblical Fiction UK

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Illness, rudeness and cake

Book News:

I've just completed my gay paranormal short story, The Paranormal Detection Agency, and have submitted it to Amber Allure Press. It's due to be published as part of their ghost/haunting collection next spring, so plenty of time for edits. I'm quite pleased with how it's turned out and suspect there might be a series in the offing in there too, once I can get my act together. Hmm, don't wait up, eh.

This week, I've quite honestly had enough of internet - and particularly Goodreads - vitriol so have cancelled my account there, for the sake of my own sanity. I've also cancelled my Twitter account - as I've never really known what it was for - and begun the process of taking down my Facebook fan pages, as they weren't very popular anyway. I'll leave my personal FB account intact. At least all this internet rationalisation will save me some valuable time, hurrah. And get the Goodreads ghouls off my back, double hurrah and put out the bunting.

A couple of poems this week, which I hope you enjoy:

Spell casting

Outside in the dark
starlight sparkles,
exposes the room’s soft comfort.

The witching hour.
The knife’s blade gleams
a deeper silver

as it unsheathes
the apple’s white flesh
held in the palm

of my hand.
Scent of autumn hedgerows.
Keep the fingers steady,

watch the smooth paring
of skin unfold
its secret spell.

One length,
then two
before the deed is done.

Close the eyes tight
and release
the magic today:

apple rind thrown on the fire
reveals your true love’s name,
they say.


you just have to
let go the things

that taste of safety
and launch out
into the hereafter;

so may the dancing air
and sunlight
carry your weight

while the seagulls’ song
salts your skin
with laughter.

Life News:

I've been ill with a bad cold and catarrh this week. This resulted in me attempting to drive to work on Wednesday (foolish decision ...), feeling horribly sick on the way, slamming to a halt in one of the Senate House car park disabled spaces, and running across the university main reception area whilst gagging. Not my finest hour really. So all kudos and grateful thanks to the lovely Reception gals who sprang at once to my aide, and the equally lovely A. who sorted out telling my boss and colleagues I was going home without actually quite managing to get to my desk. I did feel a fool, I can tell you.

So I've been off sick the rest of the week but I do feel a lot better this weekend, thank goodness. I trust I will be able to get to work unscathed tomorrow, without the drama. Here's hoping.

Yesterday, a salesman from a local paving company (who should perhaps remain nameless!) turned up on a door-to-door visit, to ask on the off-chance if we wanted our driveway done. When I told him no thank you, he got very nasty and started swearing at me, saying (and I quote): "Jesus Christ, I don't like your attitude." I told him to stop swearing and then shut the door on him, but honestly I felt really quite shaky. Is this the new sales technique they're teaching people these days?? Ye gods, I can't say I like it. I certainly won't be getting a driveway from them (though actually we had considered them in the past) - or maybe I should and then bury the pesky swearing man under it. Ah, tempting thought ...

Yesterday's cake was chocolate brownies, and they've turned out very well indeed. More than enough chocolate in there to cheer me up after Goodreads and swearing salesmen horrors. Thank goodness.

And we've had a lovely dinner out with our neighbours L&J, at R&G's new home, so that was great too. Excellent food, excellent conversation and a wonderful new home to admire. Bliss indeed.

Anne Brooke
Gay Fiction UK
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Biblical Fiction UK

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Execution, film and a church mystery

Book News:

This week, gay-themed fantasy novel The Gifting found itself at No 90 in the Amazon UK Fantasy charts, while the last in the Gathandrian Trilogy, The Executioner's Cane, was at No 78 in the Amazon US Gay Fiction Charts and No 56 in the Amazon UK Gay Fiction Charts. And don't forget the whole Gathandrian fantasy trilogy is FREE so there's nothing to lose, hey ho.

Not to be outdone, the 2nd in the trilogy, Hallsfoot's Battle, found itself briefly at No 76 in the Amazon UK Epic Fantasy chart, so that was a bit of a boost to the struggling writer too, hurrah.

Meanwhile, gay erotic romance The Art of The Delaneys gained a 4-star review at Goodreads, which commented that the whole of the series was "pure entertaining smut." Exactly what I intended, so I was very chuffed by that!

I'm also very pleased indeed to note that romantic short story Dido's Tale has now had over 50 downloads at Smashwords, and that's a FREE book too.  Never say I'm not generous with my fiction, eh ...

This week's poetry is about Wasps and Sunlight, and can be found at my poetry site, as usual. Happy reading.

Life News:

A very busy end of week here in the Surrey outback and, indeed, I seem to have shoehorned all my social activities, not to mention church dramas (see below), for the month into two days. Heck, no wonder I'm exhausted. On Thursday night, there was an extra rehearsal of the upcoming Elstead play at ours to try to iron out one or two problem sections. This ended up with me playing all the characters who couldn't be there on the night, in order to give everyone else a good chance at some practice. Heavens above, I should be granted my Equity card on merit alone, my dears. My performance was a tour de force, naturally, ho ho.

On Friday, M and I managed to squeeze in a round of golf in between the rain showers (or maybe deluge is a more accurate word), and I also had another fabulous haircut at the Elstead salon (many thanks once more, Steff). In the evening, K and I went to see Lincoln at the Elstead cinema, and really enjoyed the experience - lovely to have all those local adverts during the interval, including one for the upcoming play. No mention of my valuable support, however - I must have been left on the cutting room floor, oh the shame!

Goodness, though, but the first half of Lincoln is very wordy. And tough if, like me, you don't know US history and wonder who the heck these people are. Lincoln had children? Who knew! I was also confused because I didn't know Lincoln was the same time period as the US Civil War, but I accept I might have been getting him muddled up with George Washington, who apparently was earlier. However the second half was much better, with more actual excitement and less talking. The decision scene was superb. I loved the 3 Stooges, and the guy who was all for racial equality and had a relationship with his black housekeeper which was very sweet (Stevens, possibly?). I also loved all those wonderful beards and moustaches, and of course Daniel Day-Lewis nailed it. As ever with Spielberg though, he went on and indulged in cringe-making sentimentality after the film's natural end. It should have finished when Lincoln walks out into the night to go to the fateful theatre performance where he was shot. We didn't need the bit with the crying sons and the equality speech - way too tacky. But hey, that's Spielberg for you - he's never recognised The End when it arrives, oh well.

Yesterday, I baked Devonshire Honey Cake - it wasn't as good as the last time I baked it, as I managed to burn it a little, but the honey glaze has covered up a multitude of sins and it tastes fine, phew. We also popped along to the Elstead book sale, and managed to get six books for £2, go us. A real bargain indeed.

I'm rather bamboozled by a telephone conversation I had with one of the church ladies, however, which went something like this:

Church Lady (CL): Please could I speak to K?
Me: Of course. Can I tell him what it's about?
CL: We need to know where you live.
Me: (I give her our address, assuming this is for the church records: they're always asking us where we live, then losing the information and asking again, sigh): OK, no problem, is that all?
CL: No, not really. I can't tell you, but Mrs X (another church lady) needs to talk to him about something and wonders if she can come round to discuss it today. Now we have your address.
Me: I'm not sure if we'll be in (a lie actually, but a Visitation by Church Ladies is always a Moment of Horror and To Be Avoided ...). If you tell me what it's about, I can ask him though.
CL: Um, I don't really know, I can't say. I'll ask Mrs X. (Sound of CL asking Mrs X, who is actually in the same room as CL but for some reason won't speak to me on the phone.) Mrs X - Anne asks what it's about - can you tell me?
Pause and murmured conversation away from the phone
CL: Mrs X can't talk about it on the phone, but needs to come round and see K and you face to face. Can she come round now?
Me (still lying for Britain): I think we'll be out. Can Mrs X give me a guide as to what it's about, please?
More muttered conversation.
CL: I'm afraid she can't. It's a face-to-face matter. She's going to come round now. Will you be in?
Me: It's unlikely (making plans to flee the country and hoping the passport is still valid). We may be out. Are you sure you can't talk about it on the phone, or ask Mrs X to tell me, so I can tell K?
CL: No, that's definitely  not possible. Mrs X will come round. But if you're out, what will Mrs X do?
Me (now laughing hysterically): She'll probably have to wait a long time, but at least it's not raining.
Puts phone down.

Church ladies - really, they're a puzzle wrapped in an enigma, bless 'em. My dears, it's a mystery. Anyway, the upshot was that Mrs X never came round - though she might well have done while we were out. But K and I are having great fun wondering what it might have been about that makes her want to talk to K face to face, but not me on the phone. Has she discovered some terrible secret about me that she must tell K before it's too late? Goodness, I do hope so, as that would be amazing! K wonders idly if Mrs X has discovered my secret affair with the vicar's wife, which would certainly be something for the November edition of the parish magazine, eh. Ha! I was too busy dealing with tea coming out of my nose at that suggestion to comment. The plot, however, thickens ...

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Biblical Fiction UK

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Poetry, potatoes and prayer

Book News:

Gay thriller A Dangerous Man is now available as a Kindle at Amazon UK and Amazon US. For a brief moment of glory, it was actually at No 16 in the Amazon UK Gay Books chart, but has dropped somewhat since then. It might be to do with the small backlash against the book currently taking place on Goodreads, but I am trying to lie low on that score - especially as Goodreads is rather in uproar at the moment, oh well.

However, gay thriller Maloney's Law gained a 4-star review at Goodreads, so perhaps all is not lost on that site yet, hurrah. Elsewhere, Christian novella The Prayer Seeker gained a 5-star review at Amazon UK, which cheered me greatly.

There's further good news this week, as my gay fiction at Riptide Publishing now has a 40% discount until next weekend - so the ideal time to pick up either gay romance The Heart's Greater Silence or gay erotic romance Where You Hurt The Most. Happy reading.

Finally, I've created a new poetry website and this week there are three new poems up there: Like Chocolate; October; and Written. I hope you enjoy them.

Life News:

I've managed to survive the ups and downs of Welcome Week at the University for a ninth year (go me!), though I have certainly been struggling with a cold all week - probably the stress, as it seems much better now. I think the students have had a good time though - which is the main thing for sure - they're certainly a very keen year, all in all. A big welcome to them all from me.

Something of a trauma in the cooking department when I rushed back after a long, hard day at work, and saw my husband had kindly peeled the potatoes and left them in a bowl in the kitchen for me to sort out. So I put them on to boil for dinner and about twenty minutes later he came strolling in, looked extremely puzzled and then asked me where I'd put the last of our apple harvest. Whoops! My dears, by that time they were mush - but we did at least manage to make them into compote for dessert, phew. I am of course far too important to know the difference between potatoes and apples, but I fear I might - as an apple farmer's daughter - take some time to live that one down ...

This week's cake is Rocky Road Cupcakes, which are surely the messiest cake known to humankind, and look extremely odd - though thankfully they taste great, hurrah. A riot of chocolate indeed.

This morning at church, I was sure there was something odd floating in the Communion wine, but I attempted to avoid it and look holy, so I think I've survived the experience. I'm relying on the alcohol content and the miracle of prayer to get us through the day, hey ho.

Mind you, I was rather irritated by the line in one of the hymns which tells us that "the church's teaching is wholly supported by God and we must all agree with it" or some such nonsensical baloney. K told me afterwards he thought I was about to spontaneously combust at having to sing such a downright lie, so I have surely gained essential God Points by remaining calm. That said, a lot of the church stalwarts were away on the Parish Weekend, so at least the oldies left behind did choose some good old-fashioned hymns - with decent tunes! -  to sing, rather than anything too modern or scarily Kendrick-y. Maybe we should send the usual hymn-pickers away again?...

Sadly, at the church door, I was asked if I wanted to do a church job. God forbid! I'm rather fond of the lovely chap who asked me, but my answer is as it's always been, no matter how nice you are: Not until you've had a real conversation with me about non-church stuff at least 5 times, and certainly not until the Church of England stops being anti-women leaders and anti-equal marriage. Hmmm, I won't wait up then, eh.

Anyway, to calm us all down from church idiocies and the traumas of the internet, here are some wonderful pictures of one of our acers getting in autumnal mode.

Have a great week.

Anne Brooke
Poetry for Redheads
Free Fiction UK
Gay Fiction UK
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Biblical Fiction UK

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Free books and freshers

Book News:

Romantic short story, Dido's Tale, is now FREE at Smashwords and All Romance Ebooks, and also available at Amazon. Here's the blurb:

When shipwreck brings the legendary Lord Aeneas to her shores, Queen Dido finds herself first puzzled and then enchanted by the mysterious stranger. Enchantment turns inevitably to a passionate love which Aeneas returns in full, and the two different nations begin to merge into one as she teaches him the ways of her people.

When the gods demand Aeneas' return to his mission, how will he respond, and what price is Dido willing to pay to change fate?

There's already a 5-star review at Goodreads (many thanks, Fred) which includes the following:

"What emerges is a remarkable portrait of a woman with a will and sense of duty as strong as any man's, and the complexity of sexual identities and gender roles."

In other news, gay thriller A Dangerous Man is now available as a paperback at Amazon US, and Maloney's Law has become a bestseller at All Romance Ebooks, well gosh.

Gay-themed fantasy, The Executioner's Cane, has also just passed its 100 downloads marker at Free Ebooks, so that's nice news.

Here are some poems of the week:


The morning hums
with spiders,
thick white webs
casting shadows
on damp earth

and I am again
entangled by autumn’s
quiet expectation,
in the air’s soft thrum.


The brush and shuffle
of the working day

dance around me
as I sit and sway

my fingers to the sound
of the keyboard’s call

to make something of nothing
or nothing at all.


The horses returned
just when we thought
they wouldn’t:

galloping hooves
sparked light,
startling butterflies

and flashes of green
from the waiting earth.
They dance

in the sun,
framed by sky
and autumn glow.

Life News:

It's Move In Weekend at the University, so I spent yesterday answering a variety of questions in the Student Services Centre. My colleague Ruth and I are also helping out with the Information Point during Welcome Week from tomorrow, so it's going to be hugely busy. Nice to have a new set of students in though - from yesterday's influx, they seem very keen indeed.

As a result, I didn't have time to make any cake this weekend, but K nobly stepped into the breach and made Victoria Sponge cake, and home-made tomato chutney. What a super-hero!

Have a great week.

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK
Free Fiction
The Gathandrian Trilogy
Biblical Fiction UK